Nature, Climate and ‘One-health approach integrating animal, environmental and human health’ core of our Post COVID-19 recovery and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ strategy says Bhupender Yadav at UN Biodiversity Conference

New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav today addressed virtually the delegates of the High-level ministerial segment of UN Biodiversity Conference, Round Table on ‘Putting biodiversity on a Path of Recovery’ and said that mainstreaming biodiversity consideration in all key sectors of development and promoting human well-being and inclusive growth is the main ‘mantra’ of our governance strategy.

Stating that the unifying fabric of biodiversity is integral to the traditional knowledge systems of India’s 1.35 billion plus human population, the Union Environment Minister  said that the Country’s rich biological diversity is deeply interwoven with, and is a common thread to our diverse cultural history. India is one of the seventeen mega-biodiverse countries in the world.

The Minister further said, “We in India have respected and revered nature for thousands of years. With just 2.4% of the world’s land area, we harbour 8% of all recorded species and are recognized as one of the 8 centres of origin of cultivated plants. Several hundred species of wild crop relatives are also distributed all over the country.”

Speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic, Shri Yadav said that the pandemic has shown the entire humanity that respect for nature is not just a moral or ethical consideration, but that it is an imperative for keeping ourselves, our health and our economies safe, as well as for handing our future generations.

Speaking on India’s commitment and endeavors, Shri Yadav said that India has always relied on a network of formal and informal institutions to fulfil its biodiversity conservation obligations.

“The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with the National Biodiversity Authority of India and other statutory agencies ensure implementation of the objectives of conservation, sustainable use and fair and equitable benefit sharing through a tiered and federal network of sub-national formal and non-governmental agencies.”, said the Environment Minister.

The Minister highlighted and emphasized on the government’s constant endeavour to ensure policy coherence across our laws for seamless implementation of conservation and development policies. “We hope to create opportunities for different actors including those from the business side, stakeholders across sectors from agriculture, health, infrastructure among others to actively engage in this mission.”, said Shri Yadav

Speaking on land restoration, Shri Yadav said that it is the best solution for biodiversity loss and therefore there is an urgent need to restore the degraded lands. “India has committed to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, more than its earlier target of 21 million hectares and I am also happy to inform that one of the India’s intended National Determined Contributions as part of Paris Agreement is to create additional carbon sink of 2.5 -3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover, which will also enhance biodiversity in India.”

Speaking on Aichi targets, Shri Yadav informed the gathering that India has already set aside over 17.41% of its geographical area for meeting the conservation objectives and more areas are being identified to enhance this coverage.

“I understand that the recent digital reporting by India has significantly contributed to achieving the global conservation target under Aichi Biodiversity Target-11 and the Sustainable Development Goal-15. I am very pleased to convey India’s strong commitment to the global 30 by 30 initiative.”, stated the Environment Minister

Stating that, 2020-2021 is also giving the countries an opportunity at the global level to develop robust Post-2020 global biodiversity commitments and Indian Government is taking this very seriously and would like to work together with other countries to usher in a new deal for people and planet, while moving on a path of recovery, Shri Yadav concluded his statement reiterating India’s commitments to

  1. Mainstream biodiversity across all sectors in order to conserve nature, reverse its loss and to secure a healthy planet for our current and future generations.
  2. Ensure that benefits of biodiversity conservation flow to the poor and resource-dependent communities, who are the true custodians of biodiversity and
  3. Put nature, climate and ‘One-health approach integrating animal, environmental and human health’ into the core of our Post COVID-19 recovery and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ strategy.